Someone I love is now COVID-19 presumptive.
To begin with this person is very scared. He is an older gent with hypertension which puts him in the highest risk bracket, and we actually know how he was exposed. He was an essential worker for the local hospital system.
His life has been turned upside down. On top of being the only breadwinner, he was also a caregiver for a chronically ill and neurodivergent partner. His partner has real issues taking care of themselves and is now in the position of having to try to learn all the necessary skills for that but also has to learn how to take care of their stricken partner.
They had to turn one room into an isolation room, get separate dishes for the sick man, and separate linens, and towels/washclothes. The can’t eat together anymore, or touch one another. They cannot observe rituals that played a very important role in the neurodivergent one’s life. The ND on is on the verge of a continual breakdown and wants and needs comfort but the caregiver is deathly ill and contagious and cannot give that comfort anymore.
And if the caregiver dies, chances are good the ND one will end up in a care facility (increasing their risk) or with a distant relative.
Neither of these two people have health insurance as the caregiver was a contract laborer and thus not eligible for medical insurance despite working for/ and in the hospital systems. The ND partner was not eligible due to their pre-existing medical conditions.
And these two will probably be among the COVID-19 death rolls.
Sadly their story is not at all unique although they were lucky in some other ways.
The US has been a perfect storm for COVID-19.
1) Our healthcare system is terrible. 37th in the world.
2) We are the only first/second world country that does not provide some form of socialized health care. And we have have millions of citizens without any sort of health insurance whatsoever.
3) We turned down WHO approved COVID-19 test kits because we could not profit off of them. Our own kits are largely unavailable or inferior.
4) We have one of the largest populations of obese/chronically ill people on Earth.
5) We have some of the largest population centers on Earth.
6) We have a huge entitlement culture and also a huge anti-science culture.
and 7) have a government that seems to feel it is perfectly fine to sacrifice large portions of the population in order to keep the stock market from crashing.
As of today, Dr. Fauci was predicting 200,000 deaths IF we could flatten the curve. Sadly, this is actually pretty optimistic as 2% of the US population (the mortality rate if unchecked) is about 6 million people and so far the actual numbers show that we in the US have been accelerating the curve with Coronavirus parties, playdates, get-to-gethers, pickup sporting events, and an utter inability to stay in our homs coupled with a functional blindness for signs and caution tape, weird internet challenges, and our utter inability to stay home when asked to – and this in a population that required a crowbar to get them out of their favorite TV/gaming chair just a month ago. That perverse American contrarianism is also playing a role here.
Other oddities are that we are stocking up on guns, hoarding TP, soap, and donuts, and acting as if this were some sort of alien invasion rather than a viral outbreak. I’d say we are right on track for my earlier predictions, and may even surpass them.
It was nice knowing you, America.